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Articles and Messages by T. Austin Sparks

We wish to consider the matter of mentality in relation to our great spiritual warfare. The marginal alternative to "casting down imaginations" is "casting down reasonings" and William Barclay renders this "destroying plausible fallacies". In any warfare there are perils and threats to victory where there is a wrong mentality. On the other hand, the warrior has a tremendous advantage when he is of a right mentality. What are the plausible fallacies which must be destroyed if we are to share in Christ’s victory?

The Bible opens with the tree of life, and it closes with the tree of life, and that is the great issue from beginning to end. From one angle, as we were saying earlier, the Bible is all about this issue of life as over against death.

We find, therefore, as in the case of the other two things - enlargement and establishment - that God has left us in no doubt whatever as to His mind on the matter. He has made it perfectly clear that His thought is life, and life in fullness. So much so that the Lord Jesus, in His coming into this world, reaching with one hand right back to the beginning, and with the other hand right on to the ages of the ages yet to be, declares that He is in that position on one ground and with one purpose: "I am come that they may have life, and may have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

We have so far spoken in a very general way about these matters related to faith - what God is seeking in enlargement, establishment and life. We will now go a step further, and see these things being worked out in the life and experience of His people, individually and collectively, bringing these truths into practical application and relationship to life. We shall therefore return first of all to the very practical outworking of truth in the life of Abraham. Abraham’s life can be gathered up into four things: faith in relation to God’s purpose, faith in relation to God’s principle, faith in relation to God’s patience, and faith in relation to God’s passion. That comprehensive statement covers the whole course and meaning of his life.

"Thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be carried in the arms" (4b); "…the ships of Tarshish… to bring thy sons from far" (9a); and so on. They are all coming, they are all coming. Why? Because you have got something to give, you have got the light which answers to their problems and their questions and their difficulties. As the light attracts the moth, so need is attracted to where there is supply. Out of these experiences of death and darkness, leading to resurrection, comes something that others want. And it is like that, if it is after that order, they come for it - yes, from the ends of the earth. Not just for teaching, for interpretations, for doctrines, but for real, living light born out of experience, the experience of resurrection, again and again.

I do not believe that it is necessary to have tremendous attractions of other kinds to get people together for spiritual purposes. I believe that, if there is real vital light, they will come, they will find their way to it. The answer to empty churches is not entertainments and attractions, but living light. That can be proved. Would there were more light—then there might be a drawing.

I am quite sure that many of you will immediately discern that is just the flaw in a very great deal of popular Christianity today – a kind of objective imitation of Jesus which gets nowhere, rather than the subjective learning Jesus which gets everywhere.

So for this little while we are to be occupied with the School of Christ, into which school He brought the twelve, whom He chose "that they might be with him and that he might send them forth" (Mark 3:14). They were first of all called disciples, which simply means they came under discipline. Before ever we can be apostles, that is, sent ones, we have to come under discipline, to be disciples, to be taught ones, and that in an inward way. It is into this school that every one who is born from above is brought, and it is very important that we should know the nature of it, what it is that we are going to learn, and the principles of our spiritual education.

 


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